Published On: Wed, Dec 7th, 2011

India needs focus on agriculture education: Sharad Pawar

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Union Minister for Agriculture, Sharad Pawar, while addressing the Indo-US Education Conclave at Pune has emphasized that India needs to focus on improving agricultural education to tune with fast changing national and international scenario.

Pawar suggested that partnering with the US could help in expediting goals of skilled human resource in agriculture.

“We are encouraging agricultural Universities to take initiatives for modernizing course curricula and delivery methods, improving faculty competence, internships, joint education programmes and entrepreneurship development. We want to build Centres of Excellence (CoE) in strategic areas and strengthening partnerships internationally to achieve this end,” he said.

Speaking on the 21st century knowledge initiative signed by the Indian and US governments to facilitate partnerships between universities, he said it would focus on curriculum design, research collaborations, teaching and student exchange.

“The world is looking to India for its demographic dividend and pool of work force to meet industry needs. This is a challenge, but also an opportunity. We have aimed to enrol 40 million students from the present 16 million in higher education. To do this, we need 1,000 new universities and 25,000 new colleges, which requires inflow of technology and talent,” said Pawar.

Speaking about employability skills of students, he emphasised on vocational education presenting great opportunity to both countries. He welcomed the move of the US government to send 1 lakh students to India in the coming years and asked Indian education institutions to pull up their socks.

“We are committed to cut red tape and encourage quality. Similarly, we want this dialogue to remove certain roadblocks. Although medical and allied education in India is of good standard, Indian students are not permitted to carry on higher studies or serve without clearing certain exams again. Students approved by recognized bodies like Medical Council of India /Dental Council of India /nursing council must have direct access to medical studies in USA,” said Pawar.